As I search through my boxes to gather up Christmas ornaments, I slip back in time. I find myself thinking about the many sacrifices my parents, like many parents, make for their children during this ever so meaningful time of year.
Over the years, Santa has become the human face of Christmas; pictures are seen of him everywhere in his long white beard, red coat and carrying his big bag of toys for all good boys and girls.
It is easy to picture the human face of Christmas, the holly jolly red-cheeked man; because he is the man who we all have come to know as Santa. The image of Santa reminds me yet of another man. He is not bearing a white beard nor wearing red. I picture my Mr. Claus. He is your everyday average man who strived during his entire life to make Christmas a memorable occasion for his family. For all of his married years, I am sure he would attest to his angel-like figure, close to his side, hovering over a hot stove preparing meat pies, wrapping presents, home decorating; making all magical and exciting for his family to enjoy.
The lady by his side hoped for more than presents. She wanted somehow to return to a time in her own childhood, when life was simpler and made more sense. Back into time; before the troubles of adult life arrived at her door.
Behind all the fun and decorations, she somehow tried to bring a message of something more to her family. Some key to life, hope or happiness for all, while bearing the worries of getting it all done and thinking how and who was going to pay for it all.
Being a single mother of three children, I feel the lead up to Christmas to be somewhat over whelming. With the ending of November, every spare minute is spent thinking or preparing for that one single day. Some days, I have to look hard and search long to find God in what we have come to call Christmas. My, how so much has changed.
When I was a child, every Christmas Eve my sisters and brother were far too excited to sleep. We were so blessed because my Mr. Claus would arrive at our home early in the evening to sing Christmas carols. While he sang, we kids would whisper amongst ourselves saying, “I hope I get a new pair skates”, while the other would want a new doll. Now kids want a new laptop, a flat screen TV, high priced video games or some other highly expensive toy.
My kids are no different. And I, like most parents, try to give more and more, again and again, in hope that my children will one day come to understand the love and meaning behind giving.
Gift giving was introduced because of the gift God gave to us; his son.
Christmas cards and pictures make Christmas seem so breathtaking and beautiful. In truth, Christmas must not have been what is painted and depicted today.
Should we consider the real setting of Christmas, we would picture a cold and damp journey filled will trials and tribulations encountered by Mary and Joseph along their way to Bethlehem.
The story of Jesus’ birth tells us that he came as a poor and humbled person and not a strong and rich king.
My Mr. Claus sat on his piano stool for hours singing Christmas Carols; often telling the story of his father who loved the song, Silent Night. His father told him that this song reminded him of his own father. He said, “His father missed his own father during the celebration of Christmas.”
My Mr. Claus’ eyes often filled with tears when he sang Silent Night. He did not have to tell me why. I knew he too now missed his father; the man who put meaning into his life.
The legend of Poinsettia; a Children’s Christmas story from Mexico reveals to us that the gift of love is dearer to Jesus than the most expensive present. As the years add on, I understand it is the loss of parental love that my Mr. Claus still longed for.
At 47 years of age, I am realizing that I have become very much like the lady who stood beside my Mr. Claus. I easily picture her face gracefully watching as I gobbled up delicious meat pies. She just smiled as I rushed to be first at her beautifully set table to dig into her perfectly basted turkey. She giggled when witnessing that I was the quickest of all four children to unwrap my every wish under her tree. The tree she took time to decorate every single year.
Her emotional bond to Christmas was fully satisfied knowing she didn’t change the world. She was happy knowing she in some way, gave all that she had, in hope that her children would someday come to know the true meaning of Christmas. For her that was enough.
Christmas means different things to different people. However, hope is the thread that ties a family together on Christmas Day.
Tonight, I find myself thinking about my Mr. Claus and the special lady who stood by his side and by their children’s side. Making perhaps, Christmas a never-ending story; allowing every year for her children to add another chapter to the day we all came to know as “Christmas.” I believe my Mr. Claus and the lady by his side hoped that their children, too, would come to cherish and to share one day, the meaning of Christmas with their own children.
On December 25th, we can choose to remember the birth of Christ. We can follow the teaching of Jesus by reaching out to others and, by his example, love one another. We can offer what help we can to the poor. We can bring meaning to this holiday by being the people we should be and could be, if only we choose to be. We could live out this day, every day of the year, sharing the examples of how Jesus hoped that we would choose to live our lives.
We can remember not to let time slip us by. Before you know it, we will already have sat down to eat turkey with all the trimmings and up to this point, we haven’t spent any quality time thinking of the true meaning of Christmas; bringing for many, love and hope.
My Mr. Claus is my dad. He has been my Santa for 47 years; never changing as years add on. My guardian angel is alive. She is my mother. In me, she instilled the true meaning of Christmas that I hope to share.
As years add on, I realize that I am very much like her. I too want to go back in time. I want to go back to before adulthood arrived at my door. I want to go back into time; when things were just a bit different.
Kim Drisdelle works with Enterprise Miramichi in Miramichi, NB, where she lives. She is an active member of the community, and for a number of years chaired the White Gold Festival and Miramichi Canada Celebration. Kim completed four years of undergraduate studies at Universite de Moncton in education speciale, as well as two years of undergraduate studies in French Literature and Linguistics at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. The single mother of three children, this is Kim’s first contribution to Bread ‘n Molasses Magazine’s annual Twelve Days of Christmas event.
Leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Miramichi author, Doug Underhill’s latest book entitled Salmon Country. We’ll draw one winner from everyone who comments on any of our special holiday themed posts for our annual Twelve Days of Christmas event!